A breast ultrasound is a diagnostic imaging test used to examine inside the breast utilizing high-frequency sound waves that create images of the breast tissue. These images are captured in real time and can show the movement of the blood flowing through blood vessels in the area.
Who is this procedure for?
A breast ultrasound is commonly performed after breast abnormalities are found during a physical examination or mammogram. This procedure can be used to determine the cause of breast symptoms, monitor the size of a cyst, diagnose a cyst or lump in the breast, or guide the placement of a needle for a biopsy or drainage procedure. A breast ultrasound should not be performed in place of a mammogram, but should instead be a supplemental test to further evaluate any potential problems.
What happens during this procedure?
During the breast ultrasound procedure, gel is placed on the breast to help the transducer pick up sound waves as it is moved back and forth across the breast. The patient lies on her back with her arms raised above the head. An image of the breast tissue appears in real-time on a computer monitor. The procedure takes about 15 to 30 minutes, depending on if other procedures are being performed at the same time.
What are the benefits of this procedure?
A breast ultrasound is a noninvasive procedure that involves no preparation or discomfort. It provides doctors with real time images of the breast in order to help detect and diagnose abnormalities, offering a clear picture of soft tissues that may not show up on x-ray images. This procedure does not expose the patient to any iodizing radiation.